1. As legislators gather for the 2013 session (check out our coverage here, here, here, here and here), the News Tribune looks back at the tenure of outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire, calling her "a good governor in bad times" who "took to writing hardheaded budgets that assumed no imaginary revenue and punctured the wishful thinking of some of her political allies.
2. Unlike in Seattle, where the city adopted a law requiring larger companies to provide paid sick leave last year, one in three employees nationwide does not have guaranteed sick time, meaning that as we go into flu season, a third of all workers could be forced to show up to work sick if they get the flu. the liberal Economic Opportunity Institute reports. This year's flu season is expected to be the worst in a decade, according to the CDC; in Boston, for example, health officials have declared a state of emergency after at least 18 people have died from the flu.
3. Thousands of people are speeding through school zones, putting children at risk. That's how we would frame the news that the city issued far many more tickets for school-zone speeding violations than expected.
The Seattle Times, not surprisingly, takes a different angle: The city of Seattle is coming after your pocketbook, by installing Big Brother cameras to monitor your driving habits and take away your God-given right to drive as fast as you want, wherever you want. The comments, in particular, are a real testament to the humanity of Seattle-area drivers.
4. Speaking of running into pedestrians: The Times, again, has a piece about a Metro driver who hit a man attempting to legally cross the street downtown; it combines implied exoneration (Metro says the driver was sober, so no harm, no foul) with bizarre sarcasm toward the victim (he went to a nearby Starbucks, but—yuk yuk—"was taken to Harborview before he could enjoy his coffee.") The writer apparently did not have room to describe the extent of the pedestrian's injuries.
5. As the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) considers charging drivers a fee based on how much they drive, the US General Accounting Office (GAO) has concluded that a mileage fee could be more "equitable and efficient" than the gas tax, our current method of charging for road usage, Streetsblog reports. Lawmakers who represent rural (and generally red) areas, of course, oppose such fees, because their constituents tend to drive much longer distances than people who live in or near (generally blue) cities.
6. It's pretty hard to get misty-eyed about crumbling apartment buildings and car showrooms in South Lake Union, but over at Crosscut, Knute "Mossback" Berger manages to do just that, decrying the loss of the mostly light-industrial neighborhood's "soul" to new residential and commercial developments.
7. Should Washington state residents lose their license, and face the risk of jail time, simply because they can't pay their traffic fines? The Washington state supreme court is about to determine the fate of the state's most common offense, driving with a suspended license in the third degree—a charge that predominately targets poor people, the Seattle Times reports.
8. Finally, NBA.com has the latest rumors about a potential move by the Sacramento Kings to Seattle. The short version: "Unless there's some kind of amazing change of heart or desire, the Kings are leaving Sacramento for Seattle. It's just a matter of when the announcement comes."